Performance:

Both devices fared quite well when it came to phone calling quality – there was little background noise or static to be heard on both ends. Additionally, voices were clear and distinct without any hollowness in them to muddy the experience. Switching over to the speaker phones, both devices were loud enough to make out full conversations, but there is a noticeable sharp tone whenever a word is first uttered. On the KIN ONE though, we did notice that voices on the speaker phone sounded a bit muffled – plus it didn't sound as loud as we would've liked it to be. On the other hand, the KIN TWO did produce better sounds on the loudest setting and we rarely found it to strain.

Microsoft intended for these KIN devices to last you a decent weekend before requiring a charge. As we had both phones set to the automatic brightness setting, we were impressed by how well the KIN ONE put up in the battery life department – after one solid day of heavy usage, its battery life was at a steady 75%. Unfortunately we can't say the same for the KIN TWO with its larger touchscreen display – which could be the culprit in its poor battery life. We managed to get a solid day in using the device extensively, but it notified us to connect it to the charger by the end of the day. The KIN ONE is rated for 210 hours of standby time while 232 hours for the KIN TWO.

Conclusion: 

If there is anything going for KIN, it has to be its tight integration of social networking that envelops users to take notice of its keen strengths in that department. First of all, the KIN ONE is quite a compelling piece of hardware which can be attributed to its hockey puck looks, but we feel it is more suitable for sending a plethora of messages thanks to its good QWERTY keyboard. Conversely the KIN TWO is the better device for those who'd prefer some more impressive specs, but lacks a decent QWERTY to get the task of sending messages. Even though there are faint similarities between KIN and Windows Phone 7, the question that remains unanswered is why would someone go with this over the all encompassing features of Microsoft's next platform? Sure it does a swell job in quickly getting you in contact with the people you care about the most by easily sharing a myriad of content with them, but its lack of depth in being a well balanced platform makes it stand below some of its feature phone counterparts – specifically the lack of organizer functions, YouTube, IM, and some generic apps. Although it would be a nightmare for Microsoft to just stop the experience now and how it currently stands, we bet that in time there will be additional updates to the KIN platform to make it stand toe-to-toe with some of the elites out there. Moreover, it's pricing plays a pivotal role in how it'll become adopted by consumers. Despite the fact that both phones are priced below $100, it makes it one hard purchase to consider with the knowledge of some pretty decent smartphones encroaching on its turf. Having in mind you'll have to pay for a monthly data package of at least $30, we believe that there are better alternatives to the KINs right now, such as the cheaper Palm Pre and Pixi, which are smartphones and have much, much greater functionality. And if you don't mind adding some more cash to your initial purchase, we wouldn't hesitate to recommend you getting the Android 2.1-powered HTC Droid Incredible or Motorola DROID, which are incomparably better devices. However, if smartphones are not your cup of tea today and you only want to access Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter, the KIN ONE and TWO will do the job by  providing a constant feed to your favorite accounts – which is basically what they are all about.

Note: We have chosen an overall rating of 7 for both devices. Both have their strong and weak sides, so we believe that which one is best for you depends purely on personal preference.

Microsoft KIN ONE

Pros:
•    Compact form factor
•    Good QWERTY keyboard
•    Great battery life

Cons:
•    Placement of the shutter key
•    Poor speaker phone

Microsoft KIN TWO

Pros:
•    Solidly built
•    Detailed display
•    Great photo quality

Cons:
•    Stiff keys on QWERTY
•    Placement of the shutter key
•    Poor battery life


PhoneArena Rating:

7.0

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